Skip to comments.How to Answer the AWOL Accusation
Posted on 09/09/2003 5:09:05 AM PDT by forktail
I keep reading/hearing about Bush's year of being AWOL from the Air National Guard. I can't find anything on the net that disputes this accusation.
Is there anything out there?
So I assume you also supported Prez Clintoon dodging the draft?
I'm not saying Bush was AWOL, but if he was it is a serious issue. I don't think there's any records showing that he was AWOL, but how do you prove a negative? The argument is a no winner. Either they need to put up real proof, in which case why hasn't the left-wing media ran with it?
Or you can answer it like this? I have an article saying President Clinton is a pedophile! If you don't believe me prove that he's not a pedophile. See it can't be done so you dismiss the entire arugment because it's not substantiated.
To my way of thinking, if that account is correct, that is not an unblemished record, but it is a far cry from AWOL.
Though this is a FreeRepublic thread, I actually found it through snopes.com, an excellent source for confirming or debunking information. I recommend bookmarking it ..... :-)
The Real Military Record of George W. Bush Not Heroic, but Not AWOL, Either http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39ea05224b3e.htm
From May 1, 1972 until April 30, 1973 -- a period of twelve months -- there are no days shown, though Bush should have logged at least thirty-six days service (a weekend per month in addition to two weeks at camp).
In May of 1968 Mr. Bush enlisted and was chosen for training as an Air Force pilot. Critics have noted that he got into pilot training despite poor initial testing, suggesting that someone on the inside helped move him to the top of the list. The Globe interviewed National Guard officials who said it was because few National Guard enlistees were willing to commit to the required 18 months of flight training and that put them higher on the list.
In November of 1969, the future president completed flight training and was assigned to become an F-102 fighter pilot assigned to Ellington Air Force Base.
Until his fifth year of National Guard duty, there is no question about his service. The Globe says those who served with Mr. Bush regarded him as a top pilot and that he spent more time on active duty than was minimally required for reservists. In the first four years of of his six-year commitment, he spent the equivalent of 21 months on duty.
In May of 1972, George W. Bush moved to Alabama to help in a U.S. Senate campaign and requested permission to serve in a unit in that state. His superiors, however, later said they did not approve of that unit because it didn't do much. There were no drills or exercises. The unit's commander told the Boston Globe that it had no airplanes and essentially met one weeknight per month. The Globe says that months apparently went by without resolution to Mr. Bush's status and, therefore, no guard duty.
Technically, without new orders, he was still a part of his unit in Texas, but he was living in Alabama. Mr. Bush was eventually assigned to a unit in Montgomery, but two of the officers from the unit told the Boston Globe they do not recall his ever showing up. During that time, he failed to take his annual pilot's physical examination and was removed from flight status. A Bush spokesman told the Globe that Mr. Bush does recall doing some duty in Alabama.
On another occasion, a representative for the president said that Bush made up for any time that was lost by participating in other drills.
But his service records show about a year in which there is no report of duty.
From May to July of 1973, the records show that Mr. Bush did log 36 days of active duty. He was granted an honorable discharge in October of 1973.
The 36 so- called "missing days" were logged between May and July of 1973, right before his HONORABLE discharge...so, yes, he did make up the time. Also, there is the fact that he spent more time on active duty than required during his first four years. Their claims are baseless.
(Read the link to see what 'timeline' is being referenced.)
In this case you can. His service records will show where and when he was in service, day by day. If you're present and on duty, you're not AWOL.
George magazine last week wrote a story alleging that Governor George W. Bush successfully completed his Texas Air National Guard duty for the years 1972-1973. The article contradicts one in TomPaine.com, written by Marty Heldt, and one by Robert Rogers on Democrats.com.
The George article states: "For more than a year, controversy about George W. Bush's Air National Guard record has bubbled through the press. Interest in the topic has spiked in recent days, as at least two websites have launched stories essentially calling Bush AWOL in 1972 and 1973. For example, in 'Finally, the Truth about Bush's Military Record' on TomPaine.com, Marty Heldt writes, 'Bush's long absence from the records comes to an end one week after he failed to comply with an order to attend 'Annual Active Duty Training' starting at the end of May 1973. ... Nothing indicates in the records that he ever made up the time he missed.'"
"Neither is correct," the article argues. "Bush may have received favorable treatment to get into the Guard, served irregularly after the spring of 1972 and got an expedited discharge, but he did accumulate the days of service required of him for his ultimate honorable discharge." Peter Keating, co-author of the George magazine story, explained to TomPaine.com that his team's conclusions centered on one document, called an ARF Statement of Points Earned. This is essentially an attendance document that tracks when an Air National Guardsman has served, and whether he has fulfilled his annual duty.
This document that George used is far from ideal, a fact that probably accounts for the failure of other journalists to reach the conclusions that Keating and his associates did. Among other flaws, the upper left portion is torn, removing the name of the soldier to whom it belongs, with the exception of the middle initial W. Also obliterated by the tear are the year and months of service, leaving only the date (for example, for service from 2000 Oct 15 to 2000 Oct 18, only the 18 would remain). But that's not to say that it should be ignored. After all, Bush's file contains documents detailing the days he served for every year except 1972-1973. There is no attendance document in his file that specifies that he didn't serve during the 1972-1973 year (though there are other documents that do so, as we will explain later). So this document needs to be considered as one that possibly fills that hole.
One of the key contributions the George story adds to the debate is that, through some clever interpretation of the few clues that exist on the torn document, it offers a seemingly strong argument that it must be for the missing year, 1972-1973.
This detective work has caused considerable confusion, but after speaking with Keating we feel it has merit, so we will attempt to elucidate it in the following paragraphs.
First, George matched dates of service on the document against May 1973 "special orders" calling Bush to appear for service. The three dates on the special orders not only correspond to dates on the torn attendance document, but appear in the right chronological order: we know that May was the last month in Bush's attendance reporting period, and the May special order dates appear at the end of the list of dates on the document, where they would be expected.
Second, George deduced that the fourth date on the document must have been January 10th. The tear on the document runs through the column where the month abbreviations should be. In this fourth row, before the number 10, is what appears to be an "N." This -- the only visible clue concerning the month that the service took place -- suggests that the month abbreviation for this date must be Jan or Jun. But, again, we know that Bush's service records are tracked using a calendar year that begins and ends in May. It is clear from the number sequence that, at the very least, two months have passed before the fourth date of service. Therefore, the fourth line could not be June; it must be January 10 -- if you assume the document is Bush's record.
By the same logic, the previous dates on the record could be January 6, December 14, and the first date on the record could be November 29th, a date that the Bush campaign has said (and the New York Times has confirmed) is one that he served. This is also consistent with the idea that he served no time before Election Day, while he was busy working on the Alabama campaign of W. Blount, a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
More at the link: Tom Paine
Basically, the documents are there showing he served his required time, so now they have created this whole new conspiracy that someone possibly doctored the documents, but, of course, they have no proof.
There is even a letter from his Instructor, Colonel Thomas G. Lockhart in post #80, commending his service. Hope that helps!
Stop reading and stop listening. Join a curling team.
The attendance records for President Bush's unit may or may not be in existence. The laws governing these kinds of things are more strictly enforced now (especially since the Bureau of Indian Affairs fiasco under Babblin' Bruce Babbit's regime at Dept. of Interior), so records from a Guard unit back in the '60s could be sitting in some former CO's or company clerk's attic, or could have been lost, or they could have been burned in a fire like the one at the military's Personnel Records Center in St. Louis years ago.
The Texas Air National Guard was phasing out the F-102 fighter that Bush qualified in. He would have been required to put in significant additional time to qualify to fly the replacement fighter jet, and would have incurred additional obligated service.
Because Bush was deciding to not make a career of flying for the Guard, he decided not to make the transition to the new jets - therefore there was no need to maintain a current flight physical ....
That scenario happens routinely. I have served in the Navy Reserves with pilots and NFOs who become obsolete as the Navy drops planes from inventory - most recently - the A-6 Intruder. In the near future - the F14 Tomcat.
Certainly the facts show that Bush's service in the Texas ANG was outstanding and honorable.